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Showing posts from April 24, 2014

Ottawa to Propose New Pension Scheme

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[Note the contented purring noises from the CD Howe Institute and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. A bad precedent, and highly threatening to Canadian seniors - this will essentially work to eliminate defined benefit programs. Employers with defined benefit programs would have every incentive to down-grade their plans, whereas employers with defined contribution programs would have absolutely no incentive to upgrade. *RON*]

Canadian Press / April 24, 2014


Ottawa is preparing to announce a proposal to create yet another new pension scheme designed to occupy a middle ground between defined-benefit plans, generally favoured by workers, and defined-contribution plans favoured by employers.

Read: DB pensions gain strength

The announcement for a so-called target benefit plan, or shared-risk plan, would apply to Crown corporations and federally regulated workers is being sold as a proposal for "affordable and sustainable" life…

Chemicals killing smartphone chip factory workers: claims

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[Benzene and trichloroethylene have been known to cause cancer for almost a hundred years. See Devra Davis' The Secret History of the War on Cancer. *RON*]
Mahesh Sharma, Sydney Morning Herald, April 24, 2014
Dangerous chemicals are killing workers in factories that assemble processor chips for Apple and Samsung smartphones, advocacy groups claim.

Worker representatives, advocacy groups and academics are demanding manufacturers lift their standards to eradicate the dangerous conditions causing occupational leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

With more than 100 victims and counting, they claim companies have so far turned a blind eye, and said that Samsung is actively subverting the victims' pursuit of compensation and justice.

The problem originates in 'clean rooms', dust-free environments where semi-conductors, used in electronics such as smartphones and LCD TVs, are produced.

Only armed with 'white bunny-suits' designed to m…

Piketty’s “Capital,” in a Lot Less Than 696 Pages

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[Sorry, just one more on Piketty... *RON*]


 by Justin Fox, Harvard Business Review, April 24, 2014. Justin Fox is Executive Editor, New York, of the Harvard Business Review Group and author of The Myth of the Rational Market. Follow him on Twitter @foxjust.

It was only published in English a few weeks ago, but French economist Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has already become inescapable. The reasons start with the confluence of subject matter and author. There’s a lot of interest in economic inequality these days, and research conducted over the past 15 years by Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, is a big reason why. In the U.S., Piketty and UC Berkeley’s Emmanuel Saez transformed a tame discussion of income quintiles and deciles into a sharp debate about the skyrocketing incomes of the 1% — and the mind-boggling gains of the 0.1% and 0.01% — by gathering and publishing income

Family Wins Fracking Suit in Legal Blow to Industry

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[First win ever, and in Texas no less. Attorney: "I’m really proud of the family that went through what they went through and said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore.'" *RON*]
By Lauren McCauley, Common Dreams, April 23, 2014

In what is being called a legal blow to the fracking industry, on Tuesday a Texas family was awarded $3 million in the first ever verdict to be handed down over the negative health impacts of fracking.
Bob and Lisa Parr of Wise County sued Aruba Petroleum in 2011 for shale gas drilling operations which their lawyers said "fouled the family’s 40-acre ranch property, their home and quality of life," by sickening both them and their daughter Emma, as well as their pets and livestock.

“They’re vindicated,” said Attorney David Matthews following the news of the verdict. “I’m really proud of the family that went through what they went through and said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore. It takes guts to sa…